While anything but a ‘sure thing’ to line up for the Group 2 fillies’ feature at Doomben on Saturday, Kiwi trainer Roger James is pleased with the condition of Romantic Maid in the lead-up to The Roses (2000m).
Romantic Maid immediately stamped herself as a filly to follow upon debuting to racing in February and has so-far made one competitive appearance in Australia; a credible third amongst notable company in the More Than Ready BM75 (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 7th.
James told AAP he was pleased with the performance mustered by the daughter of High Chaparral most recently, but the result leaves the filly at position 21 in 2016 The Roses nominations; a race which features a capacity field of only sixteen runners.
“I was satisfied, but I thought she might have done better,” James said.
“Michael Rodd felt she was very much in need of blinkers.
“We haven’t had that feedback before, but it might be as a result of what happened when she clipped heels at Ellerslie.”
Trialling well in the lead-up to her competitive debut, Romantic Maid was held in an awkward position in transit in the NZ All Golds Cosmo Club Maiden (1400m) first-up on February 24th, but more than displayed her quality with a big turn of foot to find the line close to four lengths ahead of closest rival Red Raven.
Repeating the dose in the Fairview Motors BM65 (1600m) three weeks later, Romantic Maid produced a typically gutsy effort to finish fourth behind stable mate and Queensland Derby prospect The Hassler in the Schlaepfer Shearing BM75 (1600m).
Having displayed signs of an ailment following the tough run, the filly out of Returntosender was unlucky to lose her jockey in the Group 2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) in her only appearance amongst black type company to date.
James revealed The Hassler will make his Australian debut in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on May 28th before progressing to the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) a fortnight later.
“It’s two weeks from the Grand Prix Stakes to the Derby. I didn’t think we needed to rush over there and take in the Rough Habit Plate and the Grand Prix Stakes before the Derby,” he said.
“The Grand Prix fits well and he’s done enough here.”
The 2016 Doomben Roses field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.